Is this the new Zlatan?

Fresh from becoming their youngest ever goalscorer, Alexander Isak is now also Sweden’s most expensive teenager having left AIK for Borussia Dortmund. Adam Bate speaks to Isak’s former coach to find out whether the player really is the new Zlatan Ibrahimovic…

The frenzy of interest in Sweden’s new sensation Alexander Isak has been quite something. Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea were mentioned even before Real Madrid looked set to have got their man. Then Borussia Dortmund moved in to make him most expensive Swedish teenager ever, surpassing the fee Ajax paid to Malmo for Zlatan Ibrahimovic in 2001.

A tall striker with a silky touch, the comparisons between Isak and Ibrahimovic are to be expected. They certainly won’t go away now. Isak has already started to fill the void left in the national team, scoring the opener against Slovakia in December just days after making his debut for the senior side. In doing so, he became Sweden’s youngest ever goalscorer.

Having also netted on his full debut for AIK aged 16, this was just the latest clue that Isak is capable of taking each step up in his stride. This is what scout look for – hints of a capacity for exponential improvement. But for Magnus Wikman, the Sweden Under-17 coach who first identified Isak when he was just 14, the big leap in progress came just over a year ago.

“It was around December 2015 and we had training camp,” Wikman tells Sky Sports. “He was playing for us already but he was not the special one. He was not like he is now. But at that camp there were 66 players and he was much better than everyone else his age. He was just excellent. Something had happened in the space of two or three months.

“We then went to play a tournament in February in La Manga in Spain before playing the elite round of the European Under-17 Championships in Croatia in March. By that period he was one, two or three steps higher than before. He played with an extra …

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